This week Yang Huiyi and I took a day to preform site visits for our public space assessment study and research paper. Our boss encouraged us to see all potential public spaces in one day and to my surprise we were able to visit seven unique places, all over the city, in about 9 hours. Of course, a lot of that time was devoted to transit – bus and subway rides, and walking. It was quite an adventure surveying so many dissimilar parts of the city like that.
Each site had its own distinct features, each seemed to be balancing public and private space in its own way. Many of the sites that were suggested to us by friends and native Beijingers were sort of.. controversial and contestable as public spaces. We had people suggest specific places because of their popularity and heavy pedestrian flow, but then turn around and say they were disappointed to see that those places were losing their original character. The large outdoor mall near Tiananmen Square, and the posh SOHO development were both places that people seemed torn over. Both were fun to visit, yet neither were ideal public spaces according to my understanding.
I have settled down into the international student dorm at Beijing University of Architecture. It’s sort of fun, and strange, to be living in a dorm at my age – I never had this experience as an undergrad so it has taken some getting use to. They’re aren’t many other students on this floor (summer break is here), but the folks that are here are pretty friendly. Many of the guys are from Africa, and their English is really strong – this has been really really helpful. They’re all skilled football (soccer) players too, which has been fun. And speaking of football…
Jia You! Jia You!
The different departments at CADG have been showing their spirit by playing football matches against one another in the afternoons. It started this week, and the guys from our office really put on a good match! For planners, they are great athletes. We were all really proud of them. After the match on Tuesday we went out for dumplings – it was a great day for team building.
The weather in Beijing is bizarre this last week. It is hot and stagnant during the day, and storming during the evenings. I have woke to intense thunder and lighting at least three times this week. The lighting storms are really something to see. They shock me, and I am from the American Southwest – I have seen my fair share. Looking out my window I can see webs of electricity in the clouds. Very eerie.